by WorldTribune Staff, July 8, 2016
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) continued its targeting of Shi’ites on July 7 with the bombing of a shrine north of Baghdad that killed at least 35 people.
Another 60 were wounded in the attack on the Mausoleum of Sayid Mohammed bin Ali al-Hadi.
A jihadist detonated an explosive belt at the external gate of the mausoleum, allowing several gunmen to storm the site and start shooting at worshipers who were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, according to Iraqi security sources.
At least one gunmen blew himself up in the middle of the crowd while another was gunned down by the guard of the mausoleum before he could detonate his explosive belt, the sources said. The site also came under rocket fire during the attack.
The attack on the shrine follows the weekend attack in Baghdad in which a massive truck bomb killed at least 292 people in a mainly Shi’ite shopping area.
Shi’ites form a majority in Iraq but Sunnis are predominant in northern and western provinces, including Salahuddin where the mausoleum is located.
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his militia, the Peace Brigade, to deploy around the mausoleum near Balad, about 93 kilometers (58 miles) north of Baghdad.
Sadr’s militia is also deployed in Samarra, a nearby city that houses the shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi, the father of Sayid Mohammed whose mausoleum was attacked on July 7.
A 2006 bombing destroyed the golden dome of the shrine of Ali al-Hadi and his other son, Imam Hasan al-Askari, setting off a wave of sectarian violence.